Does a trip to the dentist have you nervous? Is your body resistant to numbing agents? Do you resist dental care because of fear? Does the thought of extensive dental treatment cause you to ignore the pain you have? Does the mere thought of dental work make you anxious? If so, you may be a prime candidate for sedation dentistry.
Sedation dentistry uses different modalities to relax an anxious patient. With the patient fully relaxed, the dentist can work free from interruption and the patient can receive the care they need without worry. The patient is still awake and aware of what is going on but is much more relaxed and able to cope. A branch of sedation dentistry is sleep dentistry. Sleep dentistry uses modalities to put the patient to sleep so that dental care can proceed while the patient is asleep and unaware of his surroundings.
Modalities for sedation dentistry include nitrous oxide and pills such as Halcion or Valium. These are good options for healthy adults ages 18-65 who have minimal anxiety, fear, or a shorter gag reflex. Both methods have a very short recovery time, and are excellent choices for someone who wants to remain awake and alert. They are easily administered in a general dentist’s office as well.
Modalities for sleep dentistry include IV sedation and general anesthesia. Candidates for IV sedation include those who are ages 2-80 and suffer from moderate to severe fear, have a severe gag reflex, may have special needs, a preexisting condition or be handicapped. IV sedation may be administered by a general dentist or an anesthesiologist. General anesthesia patients may include those who have a severe fear or phobia, may be combatant or non-compliant, morbidly obese or have a preexisting condition or handicap as well. General anesthesia is suitable for any age, and is administered in a hospital setting by either a general dentist or an anesthesiologist. A medical doctor may also monitor the case. A patient’s physical health, medications, and overall well-being are factors in determining if IV sedation or general anesthesia is a viable option. Recovery is brief and both are good choices for someone who just wants to ‘wake up’ and have their dental care completed.
Sedation dentistry is the most modern, convenient, and safe way to have your dental care performed. However, not all dentists perform sedation dentistry, or have all of the modalities available. How can you be sure to find a dentist sensitive to your needs and with the right equipment?
Consult a dentist that practices all forms of sedation and sleep dentistry first to discuss what modality might be right for you. If a dentist only has one or two modalities in his practice, he may only give a recommendation to you based on what is available. Next, call dentists in your area to ask if they practice the form of modality you have chosen. You can search online as well since there are many sedation dentist registries. Just by typing in your zip code, you can find the ones nearest you.
Dental fear, phobias, and anxiety are all different and all are very valid feelings. 7 out of 10 Americans hate visiting the dentist. Between 15%-50% of Americans forego care because of fear. However, with utilizing the safe principles of sedation dentistry, you do not need avoid a trip to the dentist or “get over” your fear any longer. You can be as relaxed as you like even to the point of not remembering the procedure. It truly is the best of both worlds!
So friends, just get rid of the unnecessary fear or phobia or whatever it is and just pay a visit to the best dentist in the colony to figure out your dental issues. Life is too short for such trivial matters and we have bigger fears to grapple with.